I hadn't gotten very far into Jayne and Alex Boisvert's puzzle before I noticed something was up. I thought maybe it was Thursday...but, no, it's Wednesday, and they've surprised us with a rebus.
Generally, I'm all thumbs when it comes to a rebus, but this time I nailed it early on. In this case, the puzzle was ALL THUMBS.
The theme answers are:
20A: Expresses scorn (THUMBs one's nose) with 1D: Barnum midget (Tom THUMB). A dead giveaway for most.
29A: 1966 Rolling Stones hit (Under My THUMB), with 33D: Kind of sketch (THUMBnail).
43A: Scan (THUMB through), with 26D: It may stick out (sore THUMB).
51A: Human hand characteristic (opposable THUMB), with 56D: Encouraging sign (THUMBs up).
Another nice surprise...it's also a pangram, which means several Scrabbly letters.
Much of the fill is only four- and five-letter words, but there are some good ones.
15A: 20 Mule Team compound (Borax). We had Boraxo just the other day.
16A: Canadian dollar bird (loon). Green Genius had a picture of a Canadian dollar on his blog last Wednesday...so, a gimme. He's also honored at 35A: Eco-friendly (green). If I'm not mistaken, there's some connection between that and his blog name.
26A: Blowhard's speech (screed). The word itself makes me think of fingernails on a chalkboard.
38A: Nymph of Greek myth (Naiad). Remember that name. It comes up often.
41A: Prison-related (penal).
47A: Tubular pasta (ziti). A little late, Brent, but here it is. See his comment last Sunday that ziti should have appeared near nose or lips on the Getting Ahead puzzle.
Thanks to playing Scrabble with my mother many years ago, I knew 48A: Place to dock (quay). That was a word she frequently played, and I remember challenging her the first time she used it.
58A: Rhone feeder (Saone). European rivers and I don't get along, but I was able to get this one from the crosses.
Other good stuff includes 4D: Tchotchkes (trinkets)...I hope the clue doesn't ever appear as an answer, though; 29D: Dickens's __ Heep (Uriah); 32D: Big Three meeting place (Yalta); 38D: Anxiety may be a symptom of it (neurosis); and 44D: Rappers' skill (rhymes).
I like that pane and pone appear side by side...at 52D: Plexiglas unit and 53D: Corn bread, respectively.
Here's the (again, 100% accurate) grid.
So far, twelve of the sixteen blogs are covered for my vacation. There are available slots for both Monday and Tuesday puzzles...easy to solve, easy to blog. I'll walk you through the whole process, and you'll be able to get help from fellow guest bloggers. Let me know if you're interested. It'll be fun...that's a promise.
See you tomorrow.